Friday, 29 November 2019

History of Oerth, Part 6: The Great Migrations

Suel Wizard
The Peoples of the West had rejoined our Narrative. When we first left them, they become a people under singular Empire, had mastered great magics and used them to subjugate those around them. The Flan had fled, but the Suloise had not followed them, content with gathering up all the lands of the West; so they told themselves, neglecting to mention their fear of the dark elves in the mountains to the east. Their doings had been just as turbulent as those of the Ur-Flan. Their Great Houses were ever fighting over the Throne. And while they were occupied thus, the Bakluni freed themselves. Then the Oeridians.

Needless to say, the Suel were not pleased; so, it was not long before they and the Bakluni came to blows. What began as small raids and minor skirmished escalated into widespread hostilities. War had swept the West.  And, if that were not enough, Tharizdun had slipped back into Oerth through ever widening cracks.

The Peoples of the West were on the move. And the Flanaess would never be the same.

-457 CY Freed from their oppressors, Queen Johydee led her people, the Oeridian tribes, east from Ull, fighting north and eastward through the vast savage humanoid hordes employed as mercenaries by the Suel and Bakluni, taking with them those secrets of the Suel they knew or could steal, and what debris the Suel had left scattered about the fields in those days of conquest, for they knew not what may be useful in days to come.
Some Suel fled their increasingly erratic empire, as well, and moved northward through the Kendeen Pass of the Hellfurnaces, coming into mostly peaceful congress with the migrating Oeridians, and open conflict with the native Flan who sought to keep them out. The Oeridians defeated hostile Suel and Flan alike, pushing them to the peripheral, wild places of the Flanaess. 
A large number of savage humanoids followed in their wake, infecting the Flanaess with a brutal violence it had previously been spared. (187 OR/ 5059 SD/ 1694 FT)

-448 CY The Year of the Prophets. They read doom in the cards, the bones, and the tea leaves. Within the span of a generation the empire would fall, they predicted. Repent, they cried. Turn from your wicked ways, they plead, warning against worship of the Chained God, and warding against something they named Shothragot. To no avail. The masses laughed and turned their backs on the doomsayers. But it was plain in their eyes that their laughter was false. They turned their backs on their prophets because they knew their emperor was displeased, and they feared their emperor’s wrath more than their prophets’ doom.

Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The Emperor, Yellax-ad-Zol has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. [OJ11] (196 OR/ 5068 SD/1703 FT)

-447 CY Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. He knew more than most, and heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d mysteriously vanished into the East a century earlier, and he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at his worship when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.

Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland. [OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)

-446 CY The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor! he screamed, when he heard of his son's betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor's wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son's absence.
 The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)

-445 to -423 CY  The Zolites scatter the Flannae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. Zellifar carries with him two of the lesser Binders and the Chief Binder. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turned north, where they are met by regrouped Oerdians and fearful Flannae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. Many are lost and remained in the Amedio Jungle. They eventually [turn] back east and march toward what is now the Rift Canyon. [OJ11] (199-221 OR/ 5071 – 5093 SD/1706-1728 FT)

-424 CY Kevelli Mauk, leader of the Scarlet Brotherhood, also heeded the warnings of the seven prophets. He gathered his servants and his ten most ardent students, and managed to escape to the Flanaess just before disaster hit. They crossed the Hellfurnaces and found those Suel who’d first fled to the Sheldomar Valley as the Great War began and had already begun to settle there. But those Suel had not held true to the Path of Purity, having already consorted with the lesser Oeridians. They were not entirely without use, Mauk found, for they had news of Zellifar-ad-Zol and those thousands who had followed him into the east. (222 OR/ 5092 SD/ 1727 FT)

-423 CY Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.
One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)

-422 CY Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.
The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.
The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.
Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)

Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike

Rain of Colourless Fire, Erol Otus
The Great War had reached its height. Thousands had perished, and thousands would perish still. Each revelled in their atrocities, citing moral and racial superiority, eager to cleanse the land of the filth that tainted it.
In the Suel Empire proper, the Suel mages gather their magical energies and cast the Invoked Devastation. No Bakluni cities survive this blast of magical energy. But Bakluni mages gather at Tovag Baragu, using the arcane powers of the Binders, and drawing upon the energies of their holiest site, withstand these energies and counterstrike with the Rain of Colorless Fire. The remains of this expenditure of energy are now called the Dry Steppes, and the Sea of Dust. The holders of all Four Binders are utterly destroyed but the binders themselves are not. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

When the Invoked Devastation came upon the Baklunish, their own magi brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire in a last terrible curse, and this so affected the Suloise Empire as to cause it to become the Sea of Dust. [Folio - 5]

The Suloise lands were inundated by a nearly invisible fiery rain which killed all creatures it struck, burned all living things, ignited the landscape with colorless flame, and burned the very hills into ash. [Folio] (224_OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

Cup and Talisman of AI'Akbar:
Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar
This pair of holy relics were given by the gods of the Paynims to their most exalted high priest […] in the days following the Invoked Devastation. It was lost to demihuman raiders and was last rumored to be somewhere in the Southeastern portion of the Bandit Kingdoms. [DMG 1e - 157]

And thus the world was sundered, its rending felt from sea to sea, and all the peoples to the east looked to the west and thought that those great magi and their Binders had brought doom to them all. The skies lit up as never before, and, for a time, there was no night, so bright was the firmament to the west. But the end did not come. The tremors persisted, then faded, the eerie red glow slaked and withdrew to the horizon, and finally below the towering mountains there until it too faded from sight, if not from memory.

How could it? The tattered remnant of the Suel fled their homeland as the devastation rained down upon them. They crossed the Hellfurnaces into the Sheldomar Valley where the Oeridian tribe of Keogh took pity on them and welcomed them, and together they began to build what would become a vast kingdom, settling swiftly and (so they say) peacefully under the guidance of their seers. They defeated the remnants of Vecna’s Occluded Empire and drove the Flan to the fringes of the Valley.

That’s the story, anyway. But, Mordenkainen wrote otherwise in On The Rise of Magecraft and Modernity. The Suel were not peaceful, he wrote. They’d never been peaceful. Their Houses fought for control of one another even as they established themselves, and even drove their own minor Houses from the Valley altogether. Indeed, the Suel were striking pacts with those Ur-Flan who still held sway over Vecna’s Lands, even as they were seen to fight against them.

Some remained aloof. Or maybe they were just biding their time. Their seers stood apart from such petty struggles, and joined together as “Those Who Must Not Speak,” to serve all the Houses, guiding them. It’s been suggested that the Order was actually founded to keep certain aspects of Suel Magic from the Oeridians, who, as yet, still lacked great sorcerers of their own. However the circumstances of their formation, “Those Who Must Not Speak” were tasked with restraining the spread of magic, and seeking out and stopping those who would unleash such death and destruction as had already been unleashed on them. In time they came to be known as the Silent Ones.

-419 CY Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone. None know where he goes or what he does there. [OJ11] (225 OR/ 5097 SD/1732 FT)

-417 CY The Three Houses of Pursuit move into the Thillonrian Peninsula. They turn to the gods they deem to be strong in the face of the harsh climate; Kord and Llerg. Magic is not practiced, and only priests, wise men and skalds may use it without fear. Witches are not uncommon, but are forced away from “normal” men. The skalds and priests develop a runic alphabet that carries mystic powers.
They do not know where they have come from. Their skalds do not know of the Suel Empire. They have retained memory of their more primitive gods such as Kord and Llerg. Some others like Phaulkon are still remembered but the more civilized gods (Lydia, for example), are forgotten! [OJ11] (227 OR/ 5099 SD/1734 FT)

-416 CY Zellifar, last scion of Emperors, teleports from the Griff Mountains back to the remains of the Suloise Empire. He is destroyed by the lingering magics and final throes of conflict in the area. Thus ends the Suloise Empire, mightiest and longest lived of Empires on Oerth, and its reckoning (although some skalds of the Northern Barbarians, and the Scarlet Brotherhood still use it to keep records). [OJ11] (228 OR/ 5100 SD/1735 FT)             

c.-400 CY              The Flan Ahlissan Kingdom was in full “decline” by this time. In the wake of the Ur-Flan and the devastating war with the elves, they’d become a peaceful folk, having reverted to a tribal existence, content to tend their flocks and fields. They were no match for the coming Suel or Oeridians ... militarily. That is not to say that they were a helpless people, either. (244 OR/ 5116 SD/ 1751 FT)

Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous Nightingale: 

Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous  Nightingale
The origin of this artifact is unknown, although the Mage Mordenkainen is reported to have asserted that the Nightingale was made by Xagy and the goddess of volcanic activity, Joramy, some 17 centuries ago. Queen Ehlissa bent all to her will with the enchantments of the device, and throughout her reign […] several Suel [were] banished to margins of the Flanaess. [DMG 1e - 160]

-366 CY Not all Flan kingdoms were as formidable. The coming of the Aerdy tribes incited panic among the citizens of Veralos, for it was only a city of artisans, highly skilled in creating the wonders of ages past, magical tablets and statuary and ensorcelled jewelry, even weaponry that was coveted by all the lords of Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria; but alas, they were not skilled in those arms. Legends say that an Ur-Flan prophet came to that ancient citadel of Veralos, and reaping their fear, he persuaded them to seek the succor of an ancient and sinister force. (278 OR/ 5150 SD/ 1785 FT)

-365 CY Veralos committed the Dark Rites bid them, and the sleeping power rose up from the depths of the Rift Canyon and the city of Veralos was no more. 
When the Aerdy came upon the Rift Valley, all they found were steep cliffs, howling winds, undulant grasses, and dust-devils. They said the dust-devils swooned and wailed. They said their dreams were plagued by visions of untold horrors. And they quit the cliffs of the Rift Canyon before too long, having never raised a single palisade to defend the howling plains or the twisted forests that surrounded it. (279 OR/ 5151 SD/ 1786 FT)

The Oeridians swept the Flan aside with ease. They were fierce. They were relentless. And they’d come prepared. They had learned from their former masters, and remembered those lessons well. They studied those Suel books and artifacts they’d taken with them. They tinkered. They failed at first to comprehend what they studied, and then one day they didn’t. Great magics were revealed to them. And the art of artifice. Leuk-O was particularly adept at such studies. And he was a wonderful tinkerer. He recreated those marvelous machines the Suel had used against them with such deadly effect. And he used them well.

Mighty Servant of Leuk-O:

Mighty Servant of Leuk-O
Those who are most knowledgeable regarding ancient artifacts believe that this device is of the same manufacture as the Machine of Lum. The Mighty Servant of the famous General Leuk-O is a towering automaton of crystal, unknown metals, and strange fibrous material. It is over 9' tall, 6’ deep, and some 4' wide. Inside is a compartment suitable for holding 2 man-sized creatures, and there is space for 4-5 others to sit outside. If the possessor knows the proper command phrases, he or she can use the Mighty Servant as a transportation mode, magical attack device, or fighting machine.
 The Mighty Servant regenerates [damage done to it]. [It is reputedly immune to magic.] Acid, cold, fire, heat, vacuum, and water have no effect on the device. [DMG 1e - 159]

Science of Temporal Waves, by Leuk-0 [Dragon #82 - 58]

Machine of Lum the Mad:
Perhaps this strange device was built by gods long forgotten and survived the eons since their passing, for it is incredibly ancient and of workmanship unlike anything known today. The Machine was used by Baron Lum to build an empire, but what has since become of this ponderous mechanism none can say. Legends report that it has 60 levers, 40 dials, and 20 switches (but only about one-half still function). Singly or in combination, these controls will generate all sorts of powers and effects. [DMG 1e  - 159]

The Minds of The Unknown, by Baron Lum [Dragon #82 - 58]

Baron Lum wielded Druniarzth against the Ur-Flan sorcerers until he lost it in the Battle if the Bonewood. Druniarzth is a fell blade, an artifact that exists only to serve Tharizdun and free him from his endless slumber. Lum spent his remaining years trying to recover the sword, the search eventually driving him mad.

-217 CY Founding of the Kingdom of Aerdy.
The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5] (427_OR/ 5299 SD/ 1881_FT)

-194 CY Exploration of the Solonor Ocean begins.
In eastern Oerik, some small but farsighted groups living near the Gull Cliffs of the coast developed some skill at maritime travel. The travelers were of mixed stock, Oerid and Flannae, and part of the newly formed kingdom of Aerdy. The persistent Aqua-erdians generated two major seafaring explorations, both of which successfully returned with news of land far eastward. [Aqua] (450 OR/ 5322 SD/ 1967 FT)

-171 CY The Battle of Chokestone.
The Flannae could only watch as the Aerdy flooded into the east, a relentless tide that had no ebb. They sought to parley with these newcomers, for there was an abundance of uncultivated land and room for all. But, the Aerdians saw the fertile lands of the Flannae and meant to take them for their own. The Flan sought to defend them, but their cause was hopeless compared with the fierceness and resolve of the Oeridians.
They clashed at Chokestone, and the Flan fell. (473 OR/ 5345 SD/ 1980 FT)

This place, and the lands around it are deserted, not farmed by anyone. The site is that of a great battle between Aerdi men and a small Flan tribe in -171 CY. The Oeridians were easily triumphant, and an excessively brutal general ordered the torture and sacrifice of all surrendering Flan folk in thanks to Erythnul. The following day, the Aerdi army woke from its camp to find that the land for several square miles around had been stripped of vegetation. Only slate-like stone remained. As they trod upon the stone, it cracked as if it were brittle paper, releasing clouds of oily, choking smoke. Less than a third of the army managed to march away from the accursed area, and those who survived suffered lung infections and disease which brought their lives to very premature ends. From time to time since this slaughter, a huge black smoky serpentine shape has been spotted prowling the lands around Chokestone, slaying any who dare approach the land where the Flan were slaughtered. Astrologer-sages can predict this wandering; it occurs around once every 17 years, with the "snake" manifesting for […] days. At other times, mages will sometimes try to obtain some of the stone for use in making dust of sneezing and choking, but they invariably send servants to obtain it rather than risking entry themselves. [Ivid - 53]

-122 CY Aqua-erdians struck out east across the Solonor Ocean.
Disenchanted by a warlike turn of events in their homeland, most of the remaining Aqua-erdians left Aerdy by sea, migrating eastward across the Solnor Ocean. Those who remained became the ancestors of the Sea Barons, now virtually independent, but swearing fealty to the Overking at Rauxes. [Aqua] (522 OR/ 5394 SD/ 2029 FT)

-110 CY After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.
Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.
After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. [Folio - 5] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)

-107 CY Ur-Flan insurgents attempted to assassinate the King of Aerdy by summoning a "winged horror." It was their last fruitless gasp at freedom.
It occurred in the year 537 OR (-107 CY), when an attack upon the traveling train of the king of Aerdy was foiled by a group of young men, primarily woodsmen and farmers from a nearby village. Ur-Flan insurgents released a winged horror upon the royal tent city in an effort to assassinate the leader of their conquerors. The young men of the village thwarted the attack, at the cost of most of their lives. The king was so impressed with the courage of the survivors that he raised them up as his "Knight Protectors." [LGG - 157] (537 OR/ 5409 SD/ 2044 FT)

So ended the Flan kingdoms.
So began the Aerdian Great Kingdom.

But what of the Houses of Pursuit? What befell them is as much legend and myth as it is truth.
Stories tell of a barbarian empire created by the warriors of Vatun, the "Great God of the North." The empire, if it existed at all, lasted only for the lifetime of the first fasstal of the Suelii. Some say Vatun was betrayed by a companion deity, but others blame a rival Oeridian god (Telchur) and his clerics; a few even say that the barbarians proved unworthy, being unable to sustain a mighty god's presence. Regardless, as recorded history dawned in the north, the barbarians' empire was only a tale of old. [LGG - 44]
Legend has it that should the Five Blades of Curusk be united, Vatun would be freed from his imprisonment and work his revenge against Telchur and the Oerids.

The Fruztii settled in the lands north of the Timberway and west if the Spikey forests where the climate tended towards a more temperate temperament. They farmed their fertile lands; they harvested the bounty of Grendep Bay; they even mined the eastern Griffs; but they also raided the southern coasts with abandon, for those people were weak, and Vatun taught them to do so, and punished those tribes that did not, sending quakes and high seas and fierce winds until they set sail south once again.

The Schnai settled the land between the Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay, with only the Spikey Forest separating them with the Fruztii. Despite their identical climes, the landscape of the Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii’s, though not so rough as the Cruski’s. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruski. It was these differences that inevitably brought their kin under their dominion.
They may not have always been the most powerful of the Suel barbarians, but they never come under the rule of either of their cousin states. Perhaps this is due to the superior seamanship of these barbarians, for they have never been attacked by land. [LGG - 106]

The Cruski settled further east upon Rhizia, the Thellonrian Peninsula, than any of their kin. Theirs is the coldest and most severe of the Suel barbarian kingdoms. Fiercely independent, they hunted and fished and whaled from their seaside towns and their mountain steadings. And like all of their kin, they built longships, for it was and is their way to raid south, and prey upon those plying their trade at sea.
The Cruski themselves are a people of pure Suel race, speaking the Cold Tongue as their native language. Though they have always been the least numerous of the Suel barbarians, their royal lineage is the oldest. The king of Cruski holds the title "Fasstal of all the Suelii," indicating his preeminence among the nobles of the Suel race and giving him the right to pronounce judgment on any of them. Politically, this has little real importance, for he has no power to enforce his judgments. However, it is said by some that the god Vatun granted this authority to the fasstal of the Suelii; if Vatun awoke, the full authority of the office would return to the fasstal, and a new barbarian empire would emerge under his leadership. [LGG - 54]

The Barbarians and the Kingdom of Aerdy were destined to clash.
And they did.
But that is another tale.

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Deathrite-Shaman by steveargyle
War-Relic by artursadlos
Rain of Colourless Fire by Erol Otus, Greyhawk Gold Box, 1983 TSR
Art of Artifacts can be found in the Book of Artifacts, 1993 WotC

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine 82
OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
Living Greyhawk Journals
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer 


  1. This timeline is so much more fun to read about in the fashion you present and comment on it. Poor Flan! The Suloise who become the barbarians always seemed forced to me, the addition of Vatun later on perhaps was an attempt to help that transition. I doubt I could dream up a better explanation for the barbarians. It just would've been easier in hindsight to have them be yet another, more remote Flannae empire.

    1. I agree. The Flan have always gotten the short end of the stick, IMHO.